In the past year or so, people have spent a lot of time and money improving their patio spaces and backyards. Because of this, says Mark Feldman, Chief Home Officer and General Manager at Riverbend Home, “we expect them to continue to extend their use for as long as possible.” This means, he continues, that you’re bound to see the upcoming season filled with trends such as outdoor holiday celebrations, major holiday decorations, upscale patio tablescapes, and even more people working outside. Though of course, it will be difficult to partake in these unless you refresh your outdoor living area and prepare it for fall. Luckily, TZR tapped several designers to tell you how.
Surprisingly, it’s not as complicated as you might expect. The consensus of the experts we spoke to? Prepping for cooler weather is mostly about adding warmth, removing excess, and infusing cozy vibes. Yes, there are more than a few ways to do that, but what it comes down to is a few simple adjustments that’ll likely take no time at all.
It may seem like you have ample time to carry out these changes, but fall is just a few weeks away (Sept. 22, to be exact!), and as Feldman shares, many of the cool-weather essentials fly off the shelves “the second the temperature drops a few degrees.” Get ahead of the game and start your update now with these expert tips.
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Store Your Summer Pieces
It’s not always fun to have to put away your favorite patio accessories, but as Sarah Stacey of Sarah Stacey Design says, it is necessary. “From a practicality stand point, pool accessories and summer-specific objects always [have] to be stored seasonally.” This may go beyond the obvious, however.
Lauren Meichtry, the founder of Elsie Home, notes that pillows and throws should always be brought inside — though this doesn’t just apply to fall and winter. “Moisture and mildew will build up and your decor will look and smell terrible,” she explains. “I love using baskets to store my pillows and outdoor throws, making it easy to bring them inside after use.”
Kate Lester of Kate Lester Interiors shares similar advice, saying that she usually removes umbrellas and other items utilized in the summer so that they don’t get damaged. In addition, she puts away unnecessary decor items “like glass lanterns, table centerpieces, and cushions. It’s much easier this way when you get a big rain or snowstorm, so you are not dashing outside to grab them before they break or are blown down.”
Last but not least, don’t forget your plant babies. “As the temperature goes down, you need to be mindful of any houseplants you moved outside for a summer vacation,” says Feldman. “When the night-time temps start dipping below 50 degrees, it’s time to bring them in.”
Add Fall Tones
Now is the time to ditch those coral pillows and boldly pattered throws and “bring in darker, moodier tones,” says Meichtry. “I like using solids versus prints for my outdoor space in the fall as it eliminates some of the clutter feeling and creates a more calming space.”
Amanda Evans of Amanda Evans Interiors concurs. “I think anything with a more earthy and neutral tone is perfect to set the stage for fall,” she explains. “For example, a sandy beige is great for adding a more warm and cozy feel to the home, but is also great all year-round. A radiant autumn orange also creates warmth and blends well with other neutral tones like gray, sand, etc.”
Refreshing your outdoor space for fall is all about creating a cozy setting, and designers recommend many different ways of doing this.
If you have the means, Lester says a great addition is a fire pit. “We often integrate gas fire pits into our backyard designs, but if you don’t have a pre-run gas line you can add the same type of ambiance with a propane fire pit,” she says. “The tank can even be hidden away under an accent table.”
Feldman also recommends adding a fire pit, but offers a few other suggestions as well. “Tall pyramid heaters provide an eye-catching focal point, while heaters shaped like wine barrels or ceramic planters are a sophisticated option,” he says. And if you’re working with less square footage? “Electric infrared heaters are also a good choice for small spaces and come in several options for outdoor patios.”
It’s not just about *actual* heat, though. “If you don't have string lights in your outdoor space, this is a must,” says Meichtry. “The power of lighting is strong, and using twinkle lights or solar powered hanging lanterns in your trees is a quick way to create coziness.”
Layer, Layer, Layer
As Evans shares, fall is the time to maximize your outdoor space, since it’s crisp “but not unbearable” outside. To do this, she recommends adding layers wherever you can. “You can build off of what you currently have on your living/patio area while elevating the space through a new exterior rug, some great performance fabrics, and even adding new lighting that can make your patio feel like an extension to your home.”
Though if you’re looking for an easy layering solution, Meichtry simply recommends pillows. “They are such a great way to add an impact and layer to decor,” she says. “Switching out your outdoor pillows for the fall weather is an easy way to transform your space without having to make significant changes.”